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Monday, 30 November 2009

AARE Conference 2009

I was really lucky that my presentation has been slotted on the first day and it's the first concurrent paper session at 11am after the morning keynote speech. I would rather get my presentation out of the way so that I could at least enjoy the rest of the conference lol. :)

I woke up to a cold morning, top of 20C only. :( I had a full breakfast at 8am as I decided to skip morning tea at 10:30am because I would be too nervous to stomach any food just before my presentation. Didn't want to do a merlion lol.

My presentation was in another building, Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) which is next to the National Convention Centre (NCC) because there were too many presenters and not enough rooms in NCC.

I was nervous, cold plus being the first presenter, not a great combination, I felt kind of sick. :S However once I started, survival instinct just took over lol. I ended my presentation right on time and there were some Q&A. Thank goodness, I could answer the questions. :) A professor (he later announced he was the convener of the Assessment SIG) was at the session and he was pleased with my responses. Phew. The professor came up to me after the session and told me I had a good design for my PhD and suggested a paper for me to read which might add value to my PhD. He later passed me the softcopy of the paper at the Assessment SIG meeting which the other presenters and I were invited to attend at 4:30pm. That was really nice of him. :) After my paper session ended at 12pm, I had to make my way back to the NCC in the rain. Brrr... cold. :( I ate like a guy for lunch, I was famished haha. After lunch, I attended my colleague's presentation and the Assessment SIG meeting.

My colleague and I later met up for dinner to celebrate as our presentations were over. Yippee. :) We went to Cream cafe/ restaurant. There were other conference participants having dinner there too lol. I had the chicken while colleague had the lamb. Somehow when you are not stressed, appetite is better and food tended to taste much better too. We ate our food with gusto! Maybe it was because we were hungry too haha. :P The orange creme brulee was heavenly. Heck, my sugar level, it was time for celebration lol.

Colleague's lamb

My chicken

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Preparing and Practising

Since I didn't have time to practise for my presentation before I left for Australia, I thought I better spend the most part of today practising it. Often I need to run through my slides and go through what I have to say. And if possible, I would try to commit to memory what I have to say. Although I have my notes, I want to look cool like those professors who can just rattle off what they want to say for their presentation without referring to any notes! Maybe that comes with experience lol.

I went to the National Convention Centre to register for the conference in the late afternoon. Despite being summer now, there was a change in the weather. It had turned cold overnight and started raining too. It felt more like autumn! :( Apparently, cold and wet would be the weather for the next few days. :( Just my luck. :(

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Flying Off II & Arrival

Breakfast was served about an hour and a half before my plane touched down in Melbourne at 6:30am. Clearing customs was a breeze and so was the collecting of my luggage before I proceeded to the domestic airport for the next leg of my journey onto Canberra.

The plane took off on time at 8:25am and it was packed lol. Breakfast was served again (lol) and mine was a little different from the rest as it was a special request meal. The others' breakfast looked a bit more interesting lol. :P

The plane touched down in Canberra at 9:3oam. After collecting my luggage, I took a cab to my uni friend's place. It is kind of her and her family to put me up at their place during the duration of the conference. :) It was really nice catching up with her.

After lunch, not wanting to impose too much on her and her family, I went into town to meet up with a colleague who was presenting at the conference too. We met at Canberra Centre which is a huge shopping mall lol. Before parting ways, my colleague and I had dinner at Nando's, a Portuguese restaurant at Canberra Centre. The lemon and herb flame-grilled chicken was absolutely delicious. :)

There is daylight saving now in most states of Australia, except for Queensland. So it doesn't get dark until 8-ish pm. I always love the summers in Australia. It makes you feel as if you have lots of time. :) Goodness, it is so good to be back in Australia and its shopping malls! Hahaha. I have no idea that I miss Australia that much until I am standing on its soil.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Flying Off

I flew off tonight for a conference in Australia. Somehow my preparation for this conference seemed lacking. :( Maybe I was too busy with my projects prior to flying off.

The girls sent me off at the airport for my evening flight to Melbourne. They didn't look like they were going to miss me because they were already talking about going to Isetan after seeing me off. Shopping more important than Mommy. Sigh.

The airplane meal was good lol. I got mine earlier than the rest because it was a special request - diabetic meal. But when I first got it, I was horrified. It was lamb stew. I can't stand lamb!!! Asked the steward if there was something else that I could have instead, even if it was a sandwich, I didn't mind. After a while, he came back. He got me a vegetarian meal and said it was the healthiest alternative he could find for me. Bless him. :) The tuna salad and the mushroom roll were delicious. :)

The flight was pretty smooth. I watched The Hurt Locker. It was good! After that, I watched HP6 again. I think I did fall asleep for a little while in between haha.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

PSLE 2009 Results

I sms-ed my counselling school to inquire about their PSLE results. I was especially concerned about my counsellees and wanted to know how they had fared in their PSLE. I am really glad to be told that they have all cleared and will be moving on to secondary schools. :) I hope they will be able to get into the school of their choice. :)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Good Luck, Kids

The PSLE 2009 results will be released tomorrow. I wonder how my P6 counsellees are feeling. Nervous? Anxious? Excited? Indifferent? Well, I am feeling quite restless. I am curious to know how they did and I hope all of them will be able to get the secondary school of their choice. :)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Performance Review II

I had my work review with my PI today.
All I can say, after my work review, is :) :) :)

Monday, 23 November 2009

Take My Breath Away

I went to the doctor's today. As I was collecting my medication, I heard the fire alarm going off. The clinic staff told me that there was a fire drill going on. Oh ok, nothing to worry about then. However, when I reached the lifts, none of them were operating because of the fire drill. The thing is the clinic was on the 12th floor!!! :(

Goodness, I was so breathless by the time I walked down 12 flights of stairs to the ground floor. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Just as I reached the ground floor, the lifts started operating again. ARGH! Just my luck.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Performance Review

Another work performance review is coming up soon. It seemed like not long ago, I just completed one. Time really flies... I have to start listing out the targets I have met and the progress I have made within the two projects I am with...

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Freak Rainstorms

Freak rainstorms occurred both in UK and Singapore.

The heaviest rainfall ever recorded in UK triggered floods in the Lake District which were as deep as 8 feet in some areas. The flood created by the freak rainstorm in Britain was cited as a 1-in-a-1000 years flood.

On Thursday, almost half of the average monthly rainfall for November fell from 1 - 3pm and created floods in the Bukit Timah area. Our flood was cited as a 1-in-a-50 years flood.
I used to live in Bukit Timah area for close to 20 years until I moved in the late 90s. It used to flood quite easily whenever it rains heavily. Used to love it when my brother and I were young because it meant we could be late for school or even better, we didn't have to go to school! Haha. :P

Friday, 20 November 2009

New Toy

A colleague/ friend bought a Nintendo DSi recently and I had the chance to play with it. I think NDSi is much easier to control than PS2 lol. After work, my friend was giving another friend and I a lift into town when he decided that he would stop for a while at Far East Plaza before going to Kinokuniya. He thought he would show me a shop at FEP that sells Nintendo stuff as I had expressed interest in getting a Nintendo haha. :P

I bought a NDS Lite hahaha. I got it for $169. A real good deal. Must thank my friend who showed me the shop. :) My friend and I parted ways after I got my new toy as he went on to Kino and I went home to charge my new NDS Lite so that I could play with it! :)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Wrapping Up

This is the last week of school for the year. One of our projects is also wrapping up for the year. My PI and I went to two participating schools in our project to share the research results with them as well as to show them our appreciation for their participation. Next week, another two schools to go. After that, we will conduct the detailed analysis and report writing for the project.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Puzzle Game

Updated 20 November, 11:32pm.
I have removed the Blox game because the music that goes with it isn't exactly very addictive to listen to! Anyway, here is the link and you can find many other games (action, puzzle, shooting, racing, etc) that you can play and place on your blog.

I think I am addicted to puzzle games lol. Here is a new one that I just started playing recently. It is really fun and really exercise the brain to think! :)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Drenched Again!

of rain,
raining hard,
wet and wild???
wet and cold, that's it
drenched and chilled to
the bones, brrr................
steaming hot shower,
piping hot cuppa,
warming up,

Monday, 16 November 2009

Monsoon Season

With the increase of wet weather in the past week or two, it is clear the Northeast monsoon season is upon us. Whenever it rains, the temperature drops. And of course, it gets very wet and causes huge inconveniences for everyone. :( Wishing hard for dry weather again...

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Dining at Dempsey Hill II

Due to the change in time for Marieann's lesson from 3pm to 1pm, we decided to go for brunch at Dempsey Hill despite the fact I was just there recently lol. I don't mind, I welcome the greenery. Feels like I am not in Singapore. :)

I chose to have brunch at PS Cafe, Dempsey Hill amidst protests from the girls who wanted to have dim sum. :P But the girls were soon won over with the greenery, the ambiance of the place and the food. :) It was packed when we arrived at 11am so we were No. 1 on the wait list. We chose to sit indoors (in case of mozzies :P) and were shown to our table under 10 minutes.

The girls shared a plate of Blueberry Pancakes. The blueberry pancakes were nice and had whole blueberries in them! For dessert, the girls each had a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The girls' father had PS Breakfast Club Sandwich which had eggs, bacon, tomato, asparagus and baked beans on the side.

I had the Portobello Stack which came with 2 poached eggs stacked with roasted portobello mushrooms, grilled bacon, wilted spinach and creamy smoked cheddar potato gratin. This is what I call a real hearty breakfast or brunch. :)

For dessert, I had steamed Ginger Pudding with Earl Grey Creme Anglaise and topped with vanilla ice cream. I really love this pudding which is not very sweet. With lots of ginger shreds (real ginger mind you, not artificial flavouring!), it is one of the more exotic puddings I have ever tasted with its pairing of the earl grey custard sauce and vanilla ice cream. It is a wonderful pudding/ dessert that warms one up on any cool day. :)

I think we will definitely be back for more - the food and the greenery.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Dining at Dempsey Hill

My group of SC friends and I met for lunch at Au Petit Salut, Dempsey Hill. It is the first time I managed to join them for lunch as I couldn't make it for the past 2 lunches. It is also the first time I have been to Au Petit Salut even though it is so near my home. :P

We had a table outdoors, next to the water feature. It was rather serene. It started to pour as my friends made their way to the restaurant. We decided to have the 3-course set lunch ($30++) and we ordered different dishes so that we could share. Four of us had the Baked Burgundy Snails with tomato and garlic butter (half dozen) while one of us decided on Pork rillette for entrees. No photos as we attacked the food when they arrived. Too hungry lol. Both entrees were delicious and went very well with bread. :)

For mains, two friends had Crispy Filo filled with ragout of braised duck, resting on a bed of mushroom puree and salad. The duck-filled filo with the mushroom puree was exquisite in taste.

Another friend and I had Pork neck braised in Madeira served with polenta. The pork neck was huge in portion, full of flavour, moist and very tender. It went well with the polenta which was tasty on its own. Our dish was most filling. Both of us couldn't finish our dish despite sharing with the other 3 girls lol.

The last friend had Pan seared beef with french fries (I think). The others who tasted it said it was good.

For desserts, we shared Passion fruit Blanc-Manger, Profiteroles (choux buns filled with vanilla ice cream in warm chocolate sauce) and Creme bulee. Sweet heaven! Lol. :)

Over lunch, we chatted, laughed and caught up with what's happening in each other's lives. We also started planning for a girls only trip in 2011 haha. :) Better start blocking out potential dates in our 2011 calendar. :)

Friday, 13 November 2009

As Stubborn As a Donkey

Yes, I can be very, very stubborn when I want to be and my stubbornness can get my family and friends pretty exasperated at times haha. :P
You Are a Donkey

You have a reputation for being stubborn, but that's okay. Your stubbornness has served you well in life.

You know what you can and can't do, and you resent anyone trying to push you. You like make changes on your own schedule.

You are a very conscientious creature. You are willing to take responsibility for yourself and for the people you care about.

Because you have a lot of burdens, you have to be extremely careful and cautious. This explains your "look before you leap" mentality!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Revision II

Revising my dissertation is taking longer, a lot LONGER than I expected. Despite having the comments from my supervisors as a guide, I seemed to be stuck. :( I hope I get unstuck soon.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Singapore Idol 2009

Tonight is the first time I caught Singapore Idol, the Final 6 on television, well only some parts of it. I actually caught more of Singapore Idol on Youtube haha. :P I must say for this year SI, the girls are pretty GOOD - strong vocals and some with great looks too!! However, I was alarmed when I heard from a good friend that only 2 girls were left in the competition! :O

When I started psychoanalysing (sorry, occupational hazard lol) why, despite having talent and looks, the girls were continuously being voted out, it seemed quite clear the reason why. The male contestants have an advantage that the female contestants didn't have - female fans! Never underestimate what a female fan would do to ensure her idol stays in the competition. They are willing to save money (work part-time jobs, skip meals, etc) in order to vote numerous times!
However, with the female contestants, if their male fans are attached or married, chances are they are less likely to vote. Why? See, their girlfriends or wives would be unhappy or jealous if the guys openly discuss or say they like a certain female contestant. What do you think are the chances of the girlfriends or wives letting the guys vote for their favourite female contestant? Haha. But of course, there would be some girlfriends and wives who are magnanimous enough to let their boyfriends and husbands vote for their favourite female contestant. :)

Tonight is the first time ever I voted for a Singapore Idol contestant. I usually don't bother. Besides acknowledging that she is good, I was also helping my good friend to vote for his favourite female contestant. Why? Reason as stated above haha. :P

Just heard the results, she is in! I think my friend owes me one lol. :)

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Need You Now and I Run to You

This is the latest song that I am listening to, Need You Now by Lady Antebellum. Really easy on the ear, nice melody and lyrics. :)

There's another song, I Run to You by Lady Antebellum which I enjoy listening to as well. :)

Monday, 9 November 2009


On my way home from work, it started pouring rain. Thinking that I have an umbrella, I should be fine. I could not be more wrong. Despite having an umbrella and despite only having to walk a mere 5 minute distance from the bus-stop to my apartment, I got completely drenched. :( That was how heavy the rain was.

I was cold and wet when I got home. But at least the library book which I had with me was relatively dry as I had protected it from the worst of the rain. Thought I could have a hot shower to warm up but Marieann beat me to the bathroom for her shower. :( It was another 15 minutes before I finally had my hot shower, followed with a hot cup of tea. Ahhh... feeling much better.

Sunday, 8 November 2009


Juliane and I were at Square 2, a shopping mall while waiting to pick Marieann up after her lesson at 3pm. I was browsing at the pharmacy with Juliane when she said she wanted to get "that" for me when I am old. I looked at the direction she was pointing in and saw a wheelchair.

Me: (Laugh) Haha, ok. Why?
Juliane: So you don't have to walk when you are old.
Me: Oh, ok. That's nice of you. So you going to push me?
Juliane: No need.
Me: So how do I move?
Juliane: You have arms and you like this (she gestured movement of turning the wheels)
Me: ... ...

I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. Looks like I have more work on my hands with Juliane.

Saturday, 7 November 2009


I took the girls out for lunch at Ngee Ann City and the girls voted for Tampopo. I recalled watching Tampopo in Australia when I was a uni undergrad. It is a cult Japanese comedy movie about food and sex lol. :P

The girls had the Children's Mini Shoyu Chicken Ramen set ($9.80) which included a bottle of Yakult and green tea ice cream with red bean. The girls were soon slurping away enjoying their ramen.

I had the Miso Deluxe Hokkaido Ramen ($14.80) which came with bamboo shoots, corn, egg, seaweed, a slice of pork and a generous dollop of butter. Sinful but the butter made the miso pork and chicken bone broth even more fragrant! Delicious. Yummy too were the pork slice with its fatty parts (although a little too thinly sliced in my opinion lol) and the hanjuku egg (soft-boiled in shoyu with runny yolk inside). :P

Friday, 6 November 2009


I should really take heed of this Blogthings quiz result.

You Should Meditate

Part of what's stressing you out right now is not having any control over what's happening to you. And while you can't control anything in your life, it may help you to learn how to stay tranquil.

Meditation will help you learn how to let go, push through barriers, and live in the moment.
It may be difficult at first, but if you stick with it, you'll find that meditation brings you some of the peace you're seeking.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Data Entry

Updated 6 November 3:23am.
I have completed the data entry for 112 students. My left shoulder is aching very BADLY. :( Still another 112 students to go.

There was testing in school today. After the testing, I had to enter the scores into an excel file before we can run the analysis. I have 224 students' responses to key in. That's a total of 12096 responses. :( My shoulders are going to be sore.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


My mother needed to break her $50 note. She decided to break her $50 with her granddaughters. But each of them didn't have enough $10 notes in their banks to exchange with her $50. My mother then decided to borrow $20 each from them and would return them once she breaks her $50 note. Juliane was waiting to go school when this happened. She looked thoughtfully at her grandmother and the following conversation exchange occurred.

Juliane: Ah Ma, you can take my $20.
Grandma: I give you back later, ok?
Juliane: No need to give back.
Grandma: You are such a good girl.
Juliane: You can give me the $50 now so no need to give me back later.

Both my mother and I were speechless. Borrow $20, return $50! How many percent increase in interest is that?! Oh dear, a potential loanshark in the making. :(

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


I received comments from my supervisors regarding my dissertation. I have some revisions to make. A good friend is also helping to read through my dissertation to see how I could make it better. Thanks! Really appreciate it. :) Hopefully I can come up with Draft 2 of my dissertation by end of November.

Monday, 2 November 2009


"My mind is troubled, like a fountain stirred;
And I myself see not the bottom of it"
William Shakespeare

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sinned Again

We were back at Original Sin for lunch. :)

Besides the food being tasty, the service is great too. The waiter was very attentive and remembered the dish that the girls' father wanted to try for this visit. The girls' father tried the Bosco Misto: spinach, feta and tofu patties served with sautéed button mushrooms in a plum sauce.

Juliane and Marieann ordered Cheese and Pineapple pizza (no photo) and Penne in mushroom and cheese sauce respectively. I had the Porcini Polenta: polenta with porcini, button & Portobello mushroom ragout, with grilled Australian asparagus in a pesto cream sauce drizzled with truffle oil. All the dishes tasted really delicious! :) I just love anything that comes with cream sauce lol. :P